To what extent did the Spanish Civil war represent a microcosm of the polarization of European politics between the right and the left?

Essay by saddestmoonUniversity, Bachelor'sB, February 2006

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The Spanish Civil War is the name given to the struggle between loyalist and nationalist Spain for dominance in which the nationalists won and suppressed the country for the following thirty nine years. However, because of the larger political climate that the Spanish Civil War occurred in, it is impossible to view the war as a phenomenon contained within one nation. Despite its obvious domestic orientation as a civil war it was a major international conflict. The reason for this, I would maintain, is the political dogma which surrounded the war. This essay takes the form of a political survey of the Spanish Civil War in which I will divide my time between the process whereby the war was engendered; the political polarisation of both Spain and Europe, and secondly; the war itself, the political motives of those people and governments who involved themselves in the war. I will also look briefly at the international spillovers of the war.

The intention is to answer the question of the extent to which the Spanish Civil War represented a microcosm of European politics between the right and the left and the catastrophic outcomes of this polarization.

If we are to pay heed to contemporary reports of the war, especially those issued by the belligerents or those associated with them, we would come away with the conclusion that the Spanish Civil War mirrored exactly the larger European political scene. According to Franco "Our enterprise goes beyond national stakes and is converted into a crusade in which the fate of Europe is at stake" . The "crusade" as given rise to by the rebel insurgents would certainly have a significance which would expand beyond the Spanish peninsula. In a word, the Spanish civil war was beheld as a microcosm of a greater ideological struggle...